Preventing short-term drinking water advisories from becoming long-term
First Nations and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) work collaboratively to resolve short-term drinking water advisories before they become long-term.
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Solving short-term drinking water advisories
A drinking water advisory warns community residents that the water may be unsafe, or is known to be unsafe.
The First Nation decides how to proceed, based on recommendations from a variety of sources including local water operators (employed by the First Nation) and environmental public health officers (employed by ISC or First Nations organizations).
Once a short-term advisory is issued, the local water operator may identify and address the problem immediately, or the First Nation may request support from:
- Circuit Rider Training Program
- one of the centralized water and wastewater hubs in Ontario
- environmental public health officers
- other technical support organizations
A community may also issue an advisory when it does not have:
- a trained water operator to run the system
- certainty about the safe operation of the water treatment plant
- someone trained to test and ensure the quality of the water
- sufficient community-based testing or monitoring to verify the quality of the water
Most of these situations are resolved quickly. Some advisories only last for a few hours or a few days.
If advisories last for more than a year they become long-term advisories. These are usually caused by more complex issues that take more time to resolve.
Preventing advisories from becoming long-term
First Nations and ISC are working together to resolve short-term drinking water advisories before they become long-term.
- training operators through programs like the Circuit Rider Training Program
- funding operational supports such as centralized water and wastewater operations hubs. Through these hubs, a certified water operator provides oversight of water and wastewater operations
- providing First Nations communities with appropriate support to complete routine maintenance and repairs
- working with First Nations communities to support community-based drinking water monitoring, address other potential risks, and plan for infrastructure repair and replacement that will meet the community's needs into the longer term